As traffic jams, pollutions and record high gas costs have made it clear that freedom does no longer come with a car, car companies have started to turn their interest from four wheels to two.
By now most car brands have at least one E-bike concept model. Just like modern cars, these bikes will be smart connected products, working together with your smartphone and other products. So while you´re pedaling away from the traffic, the bike is analyzing your body, your route ahead and the shape of the bike. But is this new interest only a way to sell more cars and to get an air of sustainability? Or are these vehicles really meant to be functional transportation alternatives? Let’s take a look at some of the big car brands new darling – the connected E-bike:
Ford concept aims to be commuters’ best friend
On the Mobile World Congress 2015 Ford showed their concepts Mo De:Me and Mo De:Pro, developed as a design competition among Ford employees around the world. It is thought of as an extension of the car journey – it folds and stows into a Ford car, allowing commuters to park on the city outskirts, take the e-bike onto public transport and travel to the centre, then ride the e-bike to their destination. The bikes work with an app compatible with the iPhone 6 and real-time information enables several cool features: Handle-bar grip vibrations let the rider know when to turn, it can identify bike-friendly roads and hazards, and will be able to sense, and communicate with other vehicles. Further on it helps with updated journey planning, cost calculation and locating charging stations. When it comes to comfort, the bike’s “No Sweat” system will adjust pedal assist level based on heart rate and make sure the rider arrives fresh at the destination.
BMW foldable model can be charged in the car
In 2012 BMW released the i Pedelec prototype, a practical foldable E-bike, that can stow and also be charged in the trunk of the BMW i3 electric concept car. Constructed of carbon fiber and aluminium the E-bike features a 3 speed hub motor and belt drive, and is meant to carry urban commuters the “last mile” from a public charging point to their workplace or home. Undoubtedly the electric bike will also be a great emergency bail-out in case the electric car runs out of power between charge stations.
Audi’s concept for sport, fun and tricks
Audi’s concept e-bike Wörthersee – is described as a high-end pedelec made by Audi for sport, fun and tricks. It features an ultra-light carbon-fiber frame and makes use of bionic principles derived from nature. The rider can choose between five programs; these either support use of the pedals or permit electric-only travel. In one of the programs the rider’s balance is maintained electronically: as his or her weight is displaced forward or back, this is counteracted by either braking or accelerating the motor. In this way the rider can influence the speed when riding on the rear wheel only by shifting his or her weight. Leaning forward speeds up the bike, leaning back slows it down. The bike communicates with the rider’s smartphone and video images recorded while riding or even complete trick sequences can be transmitted to the Internet where you can measure yourself against other bikers and your friends.
The Smart e-bike is actually in production
The Smart bike is the only example here that has actually been available on the market for a couple of years now, the newest orange edition was released in 2014, and has a price tag of about 2,500 euros. With a design in line with the brand, this is a bike for city use and standard features include LED light with a daytime running light function and particularly puncture resistant 26″ wheels. Instead of a conventional bicycle chain, it features an oil-free and quiet belt drive. The rider chooses the power assistance from the electric motor to their support muscle power by pressing a button on the handlebars. There is a choice of four power levels demanding different levels of muscle power. Depending on the power level selected and the manner of cycling a battery charge can last for up to 100 kilometres.